Matthew Lee
Video Game Columnist

The Pokémon Company released a teaser demo for its upcoming 3DS games “Pokémon Sun & Moon” on Oct. 18. This demo was meant to show newcomers the tip of the iceberg and give insight on what to expect in the new games.

No payment or exclusive access was necessary; this demo version was available for everyone with a 3DS console to download. “Pokémon Sun & Moon” demo showed the art style of the game, some important characters in the storyline, and unveiled brand new, innovative mechanics.

The scenery of the game really met the expectations shown in the various teaser trailers. As expected, the graphics have since been upgraded from the previous games of “Pokémon Alpha Sapphire & Omega Ruby.” The settings of the new games are based off the islands of Hawaii, and everything is designed to take influence from aspects of the islands.

It really feels like an island experience, an improvement from the former Pokémon games because it brings a themed aspect to the game. For example, almost all of the Pokémon are based on animals found on the islands and aspects of Hawaiian culture. The characters themselves wear island attire such as bathing suits, visors, hawaiian dress shirts, and flip-flops.

As you progress further into the demo, you meet key figures in the game who will be integral to the storyline’s progress. For example, you are acquainted with Team Skull, the primary villains of the story. They sport thug-like attire that really pays homage to the gangster style of dress, with bandanas and many gold chains. You also meet Professor Kukui, a physically-built man who guides you through the adventure of the game. I assume that he will be the one to introduce you to a starter Pokémon in the full version.

As for new mechanics in “Pokémon Sun & Moon,” there are a plethora of interesting features that will change battling and the overall game experience. The most flashy of these are the new Z-moves, which are special power moves that can be activated by giving certain Pokémon their respective item. Pokémon like Pikachu and Eevee are able to perform these moves that are essentially very devastating in terms of power level.

One quality of life change is the hinted removal of HMs, which are moves required to navigate around different natural obstacles in the Pokémon world. Instead of teaching Pokémon underwhelming moves just to advance into a new region, you are able to borrow Pokémon to tread the terrain and break through boundaries. For example, the demo allows you to ride a charging Tauros through the fields and use its ramming power to Rock Smash through the various stone structures blocking your path.

Overall, the “Pokémon Sun & Moon” demo was short in gameplay, but it’s understandable due to the fact that it is a demo. It showcased a lot of changes and interesting aspects that will get players interested in pre-ordering the game. Not to mention that if you play the demo, certain items and Pokémon you collect are transferable to your copy of “Pokémon Sun or Pokémon Moon.”

If you have a 3DS and are on the fence about buying “Pokémon Sun or Pokémon Moon,” I would highly suggest investing 30 minutes of your time and play-testing the demo to see if it sparks your interest.

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